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Corporate Sep 29, 2012

Treating your car with branded fuel? Why it's not worth it

By Bindisha Sarang

How do you treat your car? Like your girlfriend? And you treat her to goodies like premium fuels? If yes, you might as well soon switch to regular fuel.

According to a report published on ndtv.com on 16 September, prices of premium, or branded, fuels have increased sharply. Diesel is up around Rs 19.55, while petrol is up by around Rs 6.36. According to the report, the branded petrol in Delhi is sold at Rs 77.58 per litre, up from previous Rs 71.22. The price of branded diesel, meanwhile, is Rs 65.81 per litre as against Rs 46.26 earlier.

The prices vary marginally across the country, depending on the applicable taxes. The fact, however, is that this tasty treat for your car make a bigger hole in your pocket. So, how worthy is this? Read on, to know more.

Types: There are two types of premium fuels in the country. One, promises to increase the performance of the car; and the second is one in which multi-function additives are blended.

If rumour mills are to be believed, petroleum pumps will soon do away with premium fuels and your car will have to be content with the regular fuel.

For instance, Speed 97 from Bharat Petroleum, which is the first type. As per the company website, Speed 97 is a high-octane petrol designed to provide improvements in power delivery, smoother drive, and achieve maximum performance. While regular petrol has an octane number of 91, Speed 97 has a higher octane number of 97. The higher the octane number, the better is the performance of the automobile.

For the second type, the blended multi-function additives get rid of harmful deposits from various parts of the cars engine and the like. Due to this, the overall performance of your car gets a boost. "The additives have solvents that react with deposits that are by-products of combustion, and bring the engine performance back towards normalcy. This is more of a precautionary measure. After all, there is a good chance of adulteration of fuel in India, and adulteration builds up harmful deposits," said Shrawan Raja, Managing Editor, indianautosblog.com.

At present, Indian Oil Corporation sells premium petrol under the brand XtraPremium. Bharat Petroleum's brands are Speed, Speed 97 and Hi-Speed Diesel and Hindustan Petroleum's Power and Turbojet.

Should you go for these fuels: It made sense when the cost of the branded fuel was just a few bucks higher than the regular one. But now? "With a price hike in the range of Rs 19.55 (diesel) and Rs 6.36 (petrol), if you look into the cost to benefit ratio, it is not worth it," says Ranojoy Mukherji, automobile expert. For one, the high performance fuels (with higher octane content) may work well for premium segment brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari and the like but not for lower end cars. Secondly, says, "The premiumness of these fuels is more of a marketing gimmick. Petroleum companies make more money on premium fuels."

And last, but not the least, many are nowadays shunning these fuels.

If rumour mills are to be believed, petroleum pumps will soon do away with these fuels and your car will have to be content with the regular fuel.

by Bindisha Sarang

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